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Minerva Biotecnologica 2014 December;26(4):257-62

language: English

Production of insulin amyloid nanofibrils in organic solvents: a comparative study

Nematilay M. 1, 2, Nematilay E. 3, Larijani B. 2, Ebrahim-Habibi A. 1

1 Biosensor Research Center, Endocrinology and Metabolism Molecular‑Cellular Sciences Institute, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran;
2 Endocrinology and Metabolism Research Center, Endocrinology and Metabolism Clinical Sciences Institute, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran;
3 Department of Chemical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, University of Kashan, Kashan, Iran


Fibrillation of insulin has been observed in patients with type II diabetes after subcutaneous repeated injection of insulin. On the other hand, insulin has been widely used as a model protein which is prone to amyloid formation. Since recent studies are aiming at the use of amyloid fibrils as nanomaterials, methods that could promote fibrillation may be of interest. In this study, the effect of various concentrations of methanol, ethanol and propanol has been investigated on insulin fibril formation. Methanol was found to cause insulin fibril formation at concentrations of 20-40% (v/v), where this concentration range was for 3-9% for ethanol, and no typical amyloid were observed with the use of propanol. These results are suggestive of the possibility to use various organic solvents in order to produce different amounts or shapes of amyloid fibrils.

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